Sunday, October 30, 2016

A single review of Peak Design: slide, clutch, capturePro, shell and clip

Peak Design is an interesting camera accessories manufacturer. They have a line of innovative products, which are absolutely worth considering. Each of those items individually has some really strong selling point, however they are not perfectly compatible one another: using two of them at a time requires some effort to find a decent setup.
One of the features that made these items famous is the anchor system: instead of being "permanently" tied to your camera body, they straps are attached to small nylon connectors, which makes them easily detachable and replaceable. More details are given on this page.
Many anchor-based straps come with a tripod plate that has special "holes" or "handles" around it, so that you can tie an anchor near any of the four corners of the square (there are several different such plates, here's one - not really the most recent but as an example it will do): these plates can be tightened with a key or with a coin.
The slide is a well-engineered strap: it's quite wide, very robust but a bit heavy; it's also very easy to adjust.
One downside is that the adjustments are not perfectly tight: if you walk with a mid-weight camera, the strap tends to loosen a bit and become longer - which is not too bad anyway (as micro-shocks are absorbed, it puts less strain on the anchors).
Having two anchor clips, it's extremely simple to remove it, so it makes a very good combo with the shell (below), which is a neoprene camera rain-jacket.

The shell is a truly outstanding product. It can fold and it's very compact; it's very simple to put on and off the camera and it gives some decently good protection.
Also, if you have the slide strap, you can easily remove it, pull the anchor clips through the shell (it has two holes for this purpose) and reattach the slide. So definitely five stars (or even more).

The clutch (below) is a hand strap.

The strap itself is thin and lightweight, but it feels strong and comfortable; it's very easily adjusted around the hand. However it's not easily detachable (this support page fully explains the motivation):

"All Peak Design straps use Anchor Link connectors - it makes them strong, quick-connecting, and quickly interchangeable. Clutch is the only strap we currently make that uses a different kind of connection system at one end. Instead of an Anchor Link it has a special tension clip that hooks into a loop of super-tough Hypalon."

The upper loop must slide in a strap hook on your camera body, and since the strip is not really thin, it can easily take all the space in the hook itself, thus making it impossible to attach an anchor clip in the same hook.

If you want to attach the slide and the clutch simultaneously (which is my default setup, and very easy to achieve with Sony accessories), then you have some choices:
  1. attach two anchors to the tripod plate (this setup makes your camera seriously unbalanced on the shoulder, and it makes impossible to slide the plate in the capturePro - see below)
  2. attach another anchor to the clutch itself
  3. attach another anchor around the hook (like in the picture below). This has the advantage that the clutch does not take double the tension on itself.


The capturePro is a tool that has/had a couple of variants: basically it's a large and heavy clip that can be securely attached to a belt or to a backpack. Then, the camera can slide-in (from the top or from the side) using a tripod plate, and can be quickly released with just one hand.
An interesting companion is the proPad (right), a sort of thin cushion that will prevent the camera from hitting your leg having the capturePro at the belt.
Interestingly, these two accessories are not that simple to setup: there are three documented ways to attach them (in short, the configurations depend on how much weight you plan to sustain), and the non-obvious instructions are here.

One issue with the capturePro, as anticipated, is that it works only if the anchors are attached at the "top" of the plate, so if you are thinking about using the captureClip vertically at your side, then not all setups are feasible (you may have to reverse the clip, or change side).